Before I get into this post I’d just like to insert this disclaimer: as you’ve no doubt noticed by the fact that it’s taken me over a month to write this, I haven’t actually mastered the fine art of time management, but as someone who struggles with this issue on a daily basis, my advice will be all the more relevant!
First off though, extracurriculars. If you want to get involved in any of the 800 clubs and societies (fo realz), from the rowing club to the Ukulele ensemble, fall fest is the place to find out about it. It usually takes place on the Sunday evening before the first week of class. Glasgow, Imma let you finish but UNC had the best freshers fair of all time. In all seriousness though, it’s a huge event that takes place in open air on the sports fields (also huge, because ‘merica). There’s a stage with performances from the aforementioned ukulele ensemble, acapella, and various dance groups. Also, HBO was one of the sponsors, so of course there was an iron throne you could sit on to get your picture taken. Due to my unfortunate babyface, I don’t look like I’d last more than a few hours in King’s Landing but here’s the picture anyway for your entertainment:
Even if you know exactly what you want to sign up for and don’t feel like wandering around the stalls, it’s worth it to hang around for the free stuff (including free food of course). That’s right, free stuff, every student’s favourite thing.
With so many activities on offer it’s easy to forget that I’m actually here to study. Luckily, the moment I do my professors are kind enough to remind me.. ha..haha. What I mean is: it’s been a bit of an adjustment from Glasgow. The American system is completely different and the workload is quite a lot heavier. Don’t let that scare you off though! The work itself isn’t harder, there’s just more of it, which is excellent practice for developing a good work ethic (I say developing for those who don’t already have one e.g. me). I’m a joint honours comparative literature/ history student so I’m taking Intro to Literary Theory, Arthurian Romance, Native American Tribal Studies, American Constitutional History and The Transatlantic Slave Trade. They’re all really interesting, and these arts/ humanities subjects tend to have small classes with a bigger focus on discussion and participation. So, if you’re someone like me, who never shuts up in tutorials, you’ll appreciate that. Your grade is also made up of more small assignments that carry less weight, which is a relief if you don’t like the pressure of a heavily weighted final exam.
And now…on to time management. First tip: binge watching netflix is off the table. I’m sorry but I’m afraid you’ll have to limit yourself to one episode a night, if that. I know, it was a struggle for me too. Also, try not to bite off more than you can chew. Pick one or two extracurriculars, and leave yourself time for other events and going out. Most importantly, stay on top of your work. It helps to check the syllabuses (syllabi sounds too pretentious sorry). Professors generally provide a syllabus with essay deadlines and details on readings and topics for each class. Keep copies handy and use them to make to-do lists and calendars. I hate to be captain obvious but try not to procrastinate. I like to pretend to myself that it’s ok because I work better under pressure anyway, but sometimes there literally aren’t enough hours in the day to wade through the piles of work.
Ok, this post has gotten decidedly somber, I’m sorry. There’s still time to have fun I promise! Here’s a picture of me and some other exchange students holding red cups to prove it (because red cups are symbolic of a life of leisure obvs)
As always, if you have any questions feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org